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Goal-based Course Recommendation

12/25/2018
by   Weijie Jiang, et al.
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With cross-disciplinary academic interests increasing and academic advising resources over capacity, the importance of exploring data-assisted methods to support student decision making has never been higher. We build on the findings and methodologies of a quickly developing literature around prediction and recommendation in higher education and develop a novel recurrent neural network-based recommendation system for suggesting courses to help students prepare for target courses of interest, personalized to their estimated prior knowledge background and zone of proximal development. We validate the model using tests of grade prediction and the ability to recover prerequisite relationships articulated by the university. In the third validation, we run the fully personalized recommendation for students the semester before taking a historically difficult course and observe differential overlap with our would-be suggestions. While not proof of causal effectiveness, these three evaluation perspectives on the performance of the goal-based model build confidence and bring us one step closer to deployment of this personalized course preparation affordance in the wild.

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